HISD Students Will Receive Free Meals All Year

HISD students will receive free meals for the entire school year.
HISD students will receive free meals for the entire school year. Photo by Andrea Booher

As Houston shifts from rescue to relief efforts after devastating flooding throughout the city, the Houston Independent School District has announced that all HISD students will receive free meals for the 2017-2018 school year.

Starting Tuesday, when HISD students begin school after a weeklong delay, all 215,000 students in the district will receive meals through the National School Lunch/Breakfast Program, a federally assisted meal program typically meant for low-income families. The United States Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture granted application waivers to the district, allowing all students to receive breakfast, lunch and dinner from their schools.

“Some of the areas that are the hardest hit are filled with working parents whose limited funds will need to go toward recovery efforts,” said Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza in a press release Wednesday morning. “This waiver will give our families one less concern as they begin the process of restoring their lives.”

HISD is still asking parents and guardians to complete the application for the program, which can be found on the district’s website and by visiting HISD Nutrition Services online and clicking on the “One Form Means So Much Button.” The information will help the district secure funding and track student data, according to the press release.

HISD had already certified 191 schools to participate in the Community Eligibility Program, which allows high-poverty schools to offer free meals without collecting school meal applications, and last week the Texas Department of Agriculture approved the district’s application to offer free supper to all of the district’s students. HISD's latest announcement, though, marked the first time the district asked for waivers for the entire district, according to HISD spokesperson Sheleah Reed.

Through the Community Eligibility Program, Dallas ISD has been offering free breakfast and lunch to all its students since 2013.

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Joseph Fanelli is a reporting fellow at the Houston Press with an interest in education, crime and eccentric people everywhere.